The nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile, with a strike range of 700 km, was successfully test-fired from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast on Friday by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) as part of its training exercise to ensure preparedness.
''It was a textbook launch that met all mission objectives,'' declared Avinash Chander, chief controller (missiles and strategic systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). ''The missile reached the target point in the Bay of Bengal following the prescribed trajectory.''
The 15-metre-long, 12-tonne, surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was fired from a mobile launcher from the integrated test range at the island.
The nuclear-capable missile can carry payloads of up to 1,000kg. It was tracked by radars and electro-optic telemetry stations located along the coast and by ships positioned near the impact point in the Bay of Bengal.
The Indian armed forces have already inducted Agni-I and Agni-II (which has a range of 2,500 km); both have been designed keeping Pakistan in mind. The longer-distance Agni-III and Agni-IV have been designed to tackle possible threat from China.
Agni-III has a range of 3,000km and is being inducted by the armed forces, while Agni-IV, with a 3,500-km-long range, was tested in November.